North Korea orders its army to be vigilant “at all levels”.

North Korea orders its army to be vigilant “at all levels”.

North Korea orders its army to be vigilant “at all levels”.

North Korea said yesterday it had ordered combat units to be on alert at all levels and also ordered military units to fire more artillery shells into the sea, according to the official North Korean Central News Agency in response to ongoing maneuvers in South Korea involving the United States while it confirmed that Japan and South Korea must work together to counter Pyongyang’s “provocations”.

This comes a day after North Korea announced it had fired more than 130 shells into the sea off its east and west coasts, some of which landed in a buffer zone near the sea border between the two Koreas. Seoul described it as a violation of the 2018 inter-Korean deal to ease tensions.

US and South Korean forces have been conducting live fire exercises near the border since Monday. Allies say the exercises are necessary to deter nuclear-armed North Korea, which has tested a record number of missiles this year and is preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017.

Pyongyang has slammed the joint drills, calling them provocative and evidence of the hostile policies of Seoul and Washington.

“The enemy must immediately stop provocative military operations in the area near the front line,” the KCNA news agency quoted a North Korean military spokesman as saying.

The spokesman said that in addition to the artillery barrage, the North Korean military issued an emergency call order to combat units at all levels and ordered the soldiers to intensify surveillance.

This comes at a time when the ambassadors of Japan and South Korea to the United States said on Monday that their countries should work closely with the United States, bilaterally as well as trilaterally, to address various challenges such as North Korea’s “provocations” and supply chain flexibility .

South Korea’s Ambassador to the United States, Cho Tae-yong, said the Seoul government is ready to increase cooperation with the United States and Japan, according to Yonhap News Agency. Cho stressed the importance of trilateral cooperation between the United States, Japan and South Korea in dealing with North Korea’s “provocative” actions and praised the joint anti-submarine drills the countries held last month after North Korea launched an ICBM.

Chu’s comments came during a speech at a symposium titled “Transpacific Dialogue” in a Virginia resort town attended by Japanese Ambassador to the United States Koji Tomita and others.

Referring to North Korea, the Japanese ambassador said: “Security remains our main concern, which shows the threat from the DPRK”. Pyongyang has launched a new record of 63 ballistic missiles this year, far surpassing the previous year’s record of 25.

“North Korea’s provocations are why the three countries have intensified efforts to upgrade their capabilities and enhance US advanced deterrence,” Tomita said. “But I also look forward to deepening our political dialogue to reach a greater security agreement,” he added.

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